With Easter around the corner and the Easter eggs stacking up ready to eat, I thought a post on the right tea to drink with your chocolate might go down well.
Successful combinations of tea and chocolate can be achieved in a variety of ways. You can look for tea/chocolate pairings that share similar flavor characteristics, thereby enhancing one another. Conversely, you can also find very satisfying combinations where the flavors of the tea and chocolate contrast – these are sometimes the biggest hits. Lastly, look for tea/chocolate pairings where the characteristics of each aren’t necessarily the same, but are compatible or complementary in some fashion.
Chocolate and tea make for a perfect match in our book, and not just because we love the two. They share health benefits and flavor qualities including caffeine, flavonoids and tannins.
- Jasmine Green Tea or really floral oolongs (like our High Mountain Oolong) + dark chocolate with nice floral notes
- Dragonwell Green Tea or others with similar nuttiness + almond bark or dark chocolate with nutty qualities
- Earl Grey Black Tea + dark chocolate with pronounced citrusy notes
- Earthy pu-erh teas + bright, floral dark chocolates
- Spicy teas, such as Masala Chai Black Tea + milk or white chocolate (think chai latte or chai mocha!)
- Rich green teas like Sencha Green Tea or even Matcha Green Tea + milk or white chocolate
- Teas with a roasted or “toasty” quality, such as Hojicha Green Tea or Wu Yi Oolong + sweet milk chocolate or chocolate caramels
- Full-bodied, coppery Assam black teas (or others that would ordinarily take milk well) + milk or white chocolate
- Lapsang Souchong or similar smoked teas + really dark, bitter chocolate
- Oolongs with sweet honey tones + citrusy dark chocolate or chocolate infused with citrus
Lastly, a note on flavored tea and flavored/filled chocolate. There is absolutely nothing saying that you can’t extend this pairing approach to include flavored teas or filled/flavored chocolates. That said, it’s important to keep it simple. Too many added flavors (either in the tea or the chocolate) can make for pairings that are too busy or too complicated – and often not as enjoyable. Pick your focus, keep it simple and let a couple flavors take the spotlight.
According to Linda Villano from SerendipiTea. “When approaching the Tea & Chocolate pairing, the possibilities are endless so first narrow down the number of teas you will be pairing within each category and identify them on paper. Keep things simple and well organized. Focus on specific groupings using your basic tea tasting rules, for example work with White Tea first, then move along the color spectrum from light to dark, ending with Pu-erh. Taste the tea independently of the chocolate carefully minding the general characteristics, aroma, flavor notes, and mouth-feel of each tea you plan to pair. Do the same with each of the chocolates independently of the tea. Take your time, munch on a bit of plain cracker between each tasting to clear your palate, and take copious notes. But most importantly, enjoy the process.”